Have you been feeling overwhelmed lately?
Tired of everyone telling you to “just relax” when you simply can’t?
You know that without rest you aren’t at your best, but how are you supposed to find the time when there is so much to do?
How many of these scenarios sound familiar?
- After a long day you finally arrive home, & instantly want to turn around and leave again just to avoid the mess.
- The kids are finally asleep, & although you’re tired, you start working your way through your list of chores before finally succumbing to exhaustion.
- You go into the weekend pumped about all of the things you will get accomplished, but stress on Sunday night because you barely made progress.
Ever notice how your projects seem to get bigger as time goes on? It’s because they do!
In the business world, this phenomenon is called “scope creep,” & is one reason that project managers carefully lay out all aspects of a project in detail before any work begins. Scope creep can be one of the most expensive parts of a project, because it involves all of the “add-on” ideas that were not part of the plan. It can also create undue stress by increasing the number of action items on an already tight timeline.
- When you are running to the post office to drop off a package & your coworker asks you to pick up some stamps…that’s scope creep.
- When your boss stops by to ask you to research an additional angle for a proposal you have almost completed…that’s scope creep.
Scope creep doesn’t always have a huge impact- but it can accumulate over time or over a number of projects in a way that makes your once manageable to-do list seem impossible!
Do you see yourself in any of the situations below?
- You volunteered to help out occasionally at your daughter’s school, but now it seems like you must be their only volunteer since you have a new project every week!
- You promised yourself that this time you wouldn’t go overboard when decorating for the holidays, since it took you 3 months to put away the decorations last year but you’re already planning your theme in July… and is that a snowman salt shaker on your dining room table?
- You started to pull out a few items for the upcoming consignment sale & ended up reorganizing everyone’s closet, pulling out 10 trash bags worth of items to donate, & color-coding the kids’ bookshelves.
There is nothing wrong with taking on additional work when you can handle it, but if saying “yes” is adding to your overwhelm, then start saying “no.”
Make it sound super sweet if you must.
But say it.
What if you are the one creating scope creep and adding more into your day than you can handle?
Then it’s time to put down your shovel!
Stop digging for more.
Stop burying yourself.
The easiest way to get out of the hole you are in is to stop making it bigger. Don’t add to your current project- make a note that once you are done, you would like to start on X,Y, or Z. But say NO until you have wrapped up your current workload.
At first, you might feel like you are slacking off by limiting the scope of your projects. But think about how much better you will feel when you have a bunch of completed projects all out of the way, rather than those “in progress” spread like a tornado across all areas of your life.
Think about how nice it would be to know exactly what you need to focus on next.
It’s totally possible.
You can go from overwhelmed to in control.
Just put down your shovel, & get to work!